Foundations of the American Century: The Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller Foundations in the Rise of American Power

Front Cover
Columbia University Press, Apr 3, 2012 - History - 368 pages

Inderjeet Parmar reveals the complex interrelations, shared mindsets, and collaborative efforts of influential public and private organizations in the building of American hegemony. Focusing on the involvement of the Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie foundations in U.S. foreign affairs, Parmar traces the transformation of America from an "isolationist" nation into the world's only superpower, all in the name of benevolent stewardship.

Parmar begins in the 1920s with the establishment of these foundations and their system of top-down, elitist, scientific giving, which focused more on managing social, political, and economic change than on solving modern society's structural problems. Consulting rare documents and other archival materials, he recounts how the American intellectuals, academics, and policy makers affiliated with these organizations institutionalized such elitism, which then bled into the machinery of U.S. foreign policy and became regarded as the essence of modernity.

America hoped to replace Britain in the role of global hegemon and created the necessary political, ideological, military, and institutional capacity to do so, yet far from being objective, the Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie foundations often advanced U.S. interests at the expense of other nations. Incorporating case studies of American philanthropy in Nigeria, Chile, and Indonesia, Parmar boldly exposes the knowledge networks underwriting American dominance in the twentieth century.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


1 The Significance of Foundations in US Foreign Policy
2 American Foundation Leaders
3 Laying the Foundations of Globalism 19301945
4 Promoting Americanism Combating AntiAmericanism and Developing a Cold War American Studies Network
5 The Ford Foundation in Indonesia and the Asian Studies Network
6 Ford Rockefeller and Carnegie in Nigeria and the African Studies Network
7 The Major Foundations Latin American Studies and Chile in the Cold War
8 American Power and the Major Foundations in the PostCold War Era
9 Conclusion

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Inderjeet Parmar is professor of international politics and head of the Department of International Politics at City University London. He is the coeditor of Obama and the World: New Directions in U.S. Foreign Policy and Barack Obama and the Myth of a Post-Racial America. His new book project is entitled Presidents and Premiers at War: Race, Elitism, and Empire in Anglo-American Wars from Korea to the War on Terror.

Bibliographic information